The Tontine

Stourport Basin still has a lot of its Georgian buildings including the Tontine. As there’s a Tontine Hotel in Ironbridge, it got me wondering whether it was something specific to the river Severn. However it is not….

Broadly speaking, it’s a 17th century investment scheme that combines an annual annuity for shareholders plus a lottery element because as each subscriber dies, their share is divided between the remaining participants, so the value of the annual annuity increases. So it does pay to be young fit and healthy as last man standing wins the lot.

Tontine schemes fell out of favour but are still in existence in various forms though can you imagine the potential for skulldeguery. Or Holywood for that matter.

There are are several other Tontine buildings in England and elsewhere in the world. Including the first home of the New York stock exchange which was the Wall Street Tontine coffee shop.

The Stourport Tontine was a hotel called the Stourport Inn, with 100 rooms and a ballroom, but after various guises and a lot of neglect it has been turned into rather nice apartments and as there’s an estate agents board outside one I suspect it’s a safer form of investment.

There’s plenty more to read on the internet about Tontines.